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Bicuspid Aortic Valve

By

Lee B. Beerman

, MD, Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine

Last full review/revision Mar 2021| Content last modified Mar 2021
CLICK HERE FOR THE PROFESSONAL VERSION

A bicuspid aortic valve is an aortic valve that has 2 cusps (leaflets) instead of the normal 3.

The aortic valve is the valve that opens with each heartbeat to allow blood to flow from the heart to the body. A normal aortic valve has three cusps, or leaflets.

A bicuspid aortic valve may function normally and not cause problems in infants, older children, and adolescents, but it may cause problems in adulthood. The specific symptoms depend on the complications that develop. People with infective endocarditis may develop fever. If aortic stenosis or aortic regurgitation develops, the person may tire easily, and have shortness of breath, fainting, awareness of heartbeats (palpitations), and chest pain.

Doctors suspect a bicuspid aortic valve if they hear a heart murmur or a clicking sound during an examination with a stethoscope. Echocardiography is then done to confirm the diagnosis.

The aortic valve may need to be repaired or replaced if aortic regurgitation or stenosis occurs. Aortic stenosis can also sometimes be treated with balloon dilation during a cardiac catheterization procedure Cardiac catheterization About one in 100 babies is born with a heart defect. Some are severe, but many are not. Defects may involve abnormal formation of the heart's walls or valves or of the blood vessels that enter... read more .

Because there is a family tendency (heredity) to bicuspid aortic valves, close relatives of people with a bicuspid aortic valve may undergo screening echocardiography.

More Information

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